Shops selling tobacco and vapes in Aberdeen could soon be required to only accept card payments for purchases of cigarettes, tobacco and nicotine vapour products including disposable vapes.
The city council’s communities, housing and public protection committee on Tuesday (5 September) approved the adoption of a Retailers’ Charter to control the access young people to tobacco and vaping products.
Councillors from the committee heard of the growing issues in the city of proxy purchasing of tobacco and vaping products, particularly single use vapes.
The Retailers’ Charter for the Responsible Sale of Tobacco and Vaping Products will attempt to work with retailers to highlight ways to spot and prevent this behaviour, whilst maintaining focus on existing legal responsibilities in respect of age restricted products.
“There is increasing public concern about young people accessing tobacco and vaping products and the negative effects that this can have on their health,” Cllr Miranda Radley, convener of the communities, housing and public protection committee, said.
“We need to continue to work with retailers to ensure that young people do not gain access to these products and ensure that retailers remain aware of their legal responsibility.”
The committee also asked council officers to implement the Charter in Aberdeen City, with initial focus on Union Steet retailers. The Charter is expected to be in action by the end of September.
Proxy purchasing is a criminal offence that can be enforced by trading standards, however it is hard to detect and prove when it is happening. In the whole of Scotland, enforcement action for a proxy purchase has only occurred once in the last 13 years.
So far, each reported incident has involved young people giving an adult cash to buy products. But, it is hoped the ban on cash sales could prevent future proxy purchases from taking place.
Trading standard officers believe young people may not be so willing to hand over their bank cards to strangers as opposed to cash.
(Kirstie Topp of the Local Democracy Reporting Service contributed to the report)